Albertz Benda is pleased to present a solo exhibition by artist TR Ericsson entitled “Cinders.” The exhibition showcases aspects of Ericsson’s archival project Crackle & Drag, a portrayal of his mother who committed suicide at age 57, and of the triangulated relationships between three generations within one Northeastern Ohio family.
Drawing from letters, recordings, and family photographs, Ericsson constructs his work using traditional media such as canvas, film, photography, and clay as well as unconventional materials, including found objects from his family home, pulverized medications, and his mother’s own funerary ash. Despite the deeply personal nature of this material, Ericsson’s resulting examination of grief, guilt, and nostalgia transcends his individual experience.
Pairs of selected works focus on the relationship between a father and his daughter, as told by her son after their deaths. Together they form a mixed-media portrait of two people and three generations of life in the rustbelt.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a two channel video installation. On one wall Ericsson’s mother’s voice is projected in typed sentences pulled from old letters or transcribed from lost recordings. She describes a traumatic relationship with her father, which is deeply personal and at times discomforting to read. Parallel to this, photographs of the family archive are shown as they are slowly burnt and drown in flames.
In the shadows of the video installation are two bronze casts of objects inherited from his grandfather. One is of a letter opener his grandfather made from bullet casings while serving as a merchant marine in the Second World War. The heavy cast bronze is encrusted with a fragment from a typed letter from Ericsson’s mother. In the backspace of the gallery, handmade ceramic urns are at once art objects and reliquaries. These are paired with portraits of his mother and her father at different points in their lives, their images covered in their own ashes in one of many movements towards immateriality.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Harlan Levey Projects, Brussels
About the Artist
TR Ericsson [American, b. 1972] presents the story of his mother’s life to create a complex portrait of post-industrial life in America that is at times both soft and searing. He constructs his work using traditional art materials such as canvas, bronze, photography, and clay as well as video, found objects, and artifacts from his family archives. Ericsson’s ongoing project Crackle & Drag began following his mother’s 2003 suicide. It begins as an intimate encounter with this archive and becomes a potent opportunity to reflect and scrutinize the trials and tribulations of our own lives. This project was the subject a solo exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art and accompanying monograph “Crackle & Drag” published by Yale University Press in 2015, as well as a solo exhibition at the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY in the fall of 2017. His work can be found in numerous public and private collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, MoMA, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among others.